The Galleria dell' Accademia (Venice Academy), Venice, Italy - visitor information
The Galleria dell’Accademia is one of the world’s great museums, and absolutely unmissable on your visit to Venice. It also, unsurprisingly, gets very busy, so book your tickets well in advance and plan your times to miss the crowds … around lunchtime or towards the end of the day should see you avoiding too much queuing.
Actually the sights begin before you set foot in the Accademia. The galleries are in the Dorsoduro sestiere (district) of Venice, and you approach via the huge wooden arch of the Ponte dell’Accademia, built by the Austrians to move their soldiers swiftly about the city. From the top of the bridge you have a marvellous site of the Canal Grande, gazing down upon the church of Santa Maria della Salute, the Bacino di San Marco and the Punta della Dogana. The Grand Canal describes an enormous curve (the Volta del Canal) at this point. Stop, admire and then enter the greatest collection of European and Venetian painting you’ll ever see.
As with any museum or gallery, planning is everything. There’s a lot to see, 24 rooms in all, and you can’t take in everything, so set yourself some must sees … we’ve given you a quick selection of some of the finest works at the end of this piece.
Something of a moveable feast, the Accademia has occupied a number of sites since being established in 1807. At that time, the collection comprised pieces ‘liberated’ from the churches and convents being suppressed in the city, which was then under the baleful occupation of Napoleon and his troops (Venetians today still bitterly complain about the cultural havoc wrought by the little general). The collection was first sited in the former church of Santa Maria della Carita, and then in Palladio’s Convento dei Canonici Lateranensi.
Arm yourself with a good map and guidebook (there are plenty on sale) and let’s explore. The following is merely a selection of what’s on show at any one time.
Room 1 has works by the earliest recorded Venetian painters, including Paol Veneziano and Lorenzo Veneziano (the soubriquet indicates ‘school of Venice’ rather than any blood ties between the two of course.
Moving to Room 2, we encounter works from late 15th and early 16th centuries, including pieces by Giovanni Bellini, Cima da Conegliano, and Carpaccio’s Crucifixion and Glorification of the Ten Thousand Martyrs of Mount Ararat.
Room 3, 4 and 5 have a selection of works from the early Renaissance in Venice; Giogione’s Tempest; series of Madonnas by Giovanni Bellini and Mantegna’s St George.
Room 6 includes The Creation of the Animals by Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti) and John the Baptist by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), while Room 7 includes Young Man in His Study by Lorenzo Lotto. Rooms 8 and 9 focus on the 16th century, while Room 10 has Paolo Veronese’s Christ in the House of Levi. Works by Tintoretto, including The Thief of the Body of St Mark, St Marks Saves a Saracen and St Mark Rescues a Slave.
Room 11 includes works by Giambattista Tiepolo include The Translation of the Holy House of Loreto and Tintoretto’s Madonna dei Tesorieri. You pass on through more works from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, with high points being Alvise Vivarini’s Santa Chiara, Giovanni Bellini’s series of triptychs and brother Gentile Bellini’s Blessed Lorenzo Giustinian.
Into Room 20 and we find the marvellous Cure of a Lunatic and the Story of St Ursula (a complete cycle of works) by Carpaccio. Gentile Bellini is represented by Recovery of the Relic from the Canale di San Lorenzo and then Procession of the relic in the Piazza.
Room 24 houses Titian’s Presentation of the Virgin, and a triptych by Antonio Vivarini and Giovanni d’Alemagna.
A whistle stop tour of the Accademia:
The successive rooms of the Accademia follow the history of painting in Venice in rough chronological order. We’ve selected 10 of the finest works in the gallery that follow the same principle. If you see nothing else, focusing on these works will give you a whistle stop history of Venetian art between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries.
· Coronation of the Virgin by Paolo Veneziano (1310–1362)
· The Camerlenghi Madonna by Giovanni Bellini (1430–1516)
· Procession of the Relinquary of the True Cross in Piazza San Marco by Genile Bellini (1429–1507)
· The Dream of St Ursula by Vittore Carpaccio (c1465–1526)
· The Tempest by Giorgione (1476–1510)
· Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple by Titian (c1480–1576)
· Portrait of a Melancholic Young Man by Lorenzo Lotto (c1480–1556)
· Miracle of St Mark Freeing the Slave by Jacopo Tintoretto (1519–1594)
· The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine by Paolo Veronese (1528–1588)
· Fire at San Marcuola by Francesco Guardi (1712–1793)
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